Uva Province Minister, Anura Vithanagamage, has allegedly threatened the trustee of the Mahiyangana Mosque against holding Jumma prayers, Minister Rauff Hakeeem, Leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) said in a statement issued to the media.
The Masjidul Arafa Mosque in Mahiyangana was closed…….yesterday, subsequent to the threats.
Continue reading ‘Mosque in Mahiyangana Closed for Prayers After Uva Provincial Minister Anura Vithanagamage of UPFA Threatens Trustee’ »
Naam Thamizhar (We Tamils), a Tamil activist group, has sought a ban on John Abraham-starrer Madras Café for reportedly portraying members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) as terrorists.
“We have requested the Government of Tamil Nadu to intervene and stop the film from releasing,” Tamil filmmaker Seeman, who heads the group, told IANS after seeing the movie’s trailer.
Continue reading ‘“We Tamils” Leader Sebastian Seeman Wants Hindi Film “Madras Cafe” Release Stopped for Portraying LTTE Negatively’ »
By Bianca Hall and Jonathan Swan with Daniel Hurst and Tom Allard
No asylum seeker who comes by boat will ever be resettled in Australia under Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s dramatic and ”hardline” new refugee laws.
They will instead be sent to Papua New Guinea for processing and, if found to be refugees, will be resettled there.
In the strongest line a modern Labor prime minister has taken against asylum seekers, Mr Rudd said: ”As of today, asylum seekers who come here by boat without a visa will never be settled in Australia”.
Continue reading ‘Australia will send Asylum Seekers Arriving by Boat to Papua New Guinea For Processing and Resettle Those Accepted as Refugees There’ »
Sri Lanka will not need the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with India any longer, as both countries had moved on, said Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa.
According to him, the Sri Lankan business community felt it did not need CEPA as they had found good markets. In any case, he said, India did not make things easy for Sri Lanka, as, on the one hand, while it seemed like India was opening up its market, there were new barriers [non-tariff], on the other.
Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka Does Not Need the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) With India any Longer says Basil Rajapaksa’ »
DR DAYAN JAYATILLEKA
I met Sanjeeva Pushpakumara last year in a little art cinema off the Champs Elysees at the showing of Ashoka Handagama’s Ini Avan. It seemed he knew me from his days as a student or a journalist.
A pleasant, articulate yet understated young man, of less taciturn intensity than Handagama, he debated Ini Avan with me. He introduced me to his Professor who was a member of the Jury at Cannes. Sanjeewa also turned up at a reception we hosted at the Embassy. Sanjeewa now owes a great debt to the officials of the Sri Lankan state, who in their generosity have given him and his movie global publicity. Next stop Cannes and then Hollywood perhaps?
Continue reading ‘Hysterical Reaction to the Movie “Flying Fish” and the French Film Festival Raises Many Disturbing Questions’ »
Text and Pix by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai
pic by: Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai
“Our village” (Ape Gama) is an art exhibition that presents the creative results of three community based art projects that Theertha carried out in Horapawita, Maradana and Gampaha since 2009.
This was a project that thought of art as activism. In this project, the Theertha artists worked with school children, art teachers, and community leaders of the three villages engaging them in various creative activities and discussions on places, memories, and persons that they thought are important to their respective villages.
Continue reading ‘“Our Village” (Ape Gama)-Unique Exhibition Combining Art Making and Cultural Mapping’ »
“When you’ve told someone that you’ve left them a legacy the only decent thing to do is to die at once.”
Politics refers to achieving and exercising positions of governance — organized control over a human community, particularly a state. Once you achieve the position of governance, how you manage it, governance, to the best of those who are governed is good governance. But when politics assumes a superior power over governance, you get something akin to what we have today in Sri Lanka- the uneducated trying to teach the educated; the incompetent dictating to the competent, the corrupt corrupting the incorruptible and the tail wagging the dog!
This all-pervasive phenomenon has seeped into every possible layer of society and in the process of that oozing, without its knowledge, each layer is being eaten into, in a manner akin to a bookworm destroying some priceless writings of a celebrated author of yesteryear.
Continue reading ‘Good Governance is Good Politics,Mr.President,Not Necessarily the Other Way Around’ »
Dr. Ameer Ali, a prominent Islamic scholar and a former adviser of Muslim Affairs of Australian Prime Minister, John Howard’s Government, said Muslims in Sri Lanka are self-alienating themselves from the mainstream community. He is an academic at the Faculty of Management and Governance of Murdoch University. He spoke to Ranga Jayasuriya on the issues confronting the Muslim community in Sri Lanka.
What is your take on the recent anti-Muslim propaganda? The general, rather liberal interpretation is that a peaceful Muslim minority has come under the threat of hegemonic Sinhala Buddhist nationalism. But, isn’t that a bit too simplistic?
Continue reading ‘Muslims in Sri Lanka are Self-alienating Themselves From the Mainstream Community-Dr.Ameer Ali’ »
By Omar Waraich
Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan addresses youth delegates at the Malala Day celebration and UN Youth Assembly at UNHQ, Jul 15-pic-UN Global Education First Initiative
Last Friday, Malala Yousafzai took to the podium at the U.N. It was her 16th birthday and her first major public appearance since the Taliban’s attempt to assassinate the Pakistani schoolgirl last October for her efforts to promote girls’ education. Traces of the near-fatal attack were still visible, as the disfiguring on the left side of her face showed. But as she demonstrated in a powerful and moving speech, her resolve had not dimmed.
Malala issued a simple plea: she wanted the world’s leaders to offer children free and compulsory education. She said that she wanted to wage a war against illiteracy and terrorism, but had no use for the tools of violence. “Let us pick up our books and our pens,” Malala urged. “They are our most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world.” The audience, both inside the U.N. hall where she spoke and among the many who saw the speech live on television around the world, responded with tearful applause. Former U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown hailed Malala as “the most courageous girl in the world.”
Continue reading ‘Pakistani Teen Activist Malala Yousafzai Hailed Abroad as Global Celebrity but Assailed at Home by Conspiracy Theorists.’ »
By Mythily Ramachandran, Special to Weekend Review, Gulf News
Callum Macrae at recent event in Toronto
Callum Macrae’s documentary “No Fire Zone” is not a story, rather several stories strung together, of people like you and me, of families and children like yours and mine, who were rendered homeless during a 26-year-long civilian war. And what you see on screen are real, gory, bloody scenes.
Macrae’s earlier film, “Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields”, broadcast in June 2011 by the United Kingdom’s Channel 4, opened with the UN team leaving the island country in 2008, after the government expressed its inability to guarantee their safety while it pounded the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in Kilinochchi.
Continue reading ‘Filmmaker Callum Macrae on his Documentary ‘No Fire Zone’About the Civil War in Sri Lanka’ »
Despite India’s efforts to persuade Sri Lanka to fully implement the 13th Amendment in the island’s northern province, the Rajapaksa government appears firm about not handing over some powers, including those related to police and law enforcement, to the Tamil minority.
Revealing the extent to which absence of trust remains an obstacle to ethnic reconciliation in Sri Lanka, Basil Rajapaksa — brother of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Minister for Economic Development — who visited New Delhi last week, told The Hindu that Sri Lanka would never risk a provincial government forming its own “army” through devolved police powers.
Referring to the Tamil National Army — a militant outfit raised by the beleaguered 1988 EPRLF government in the North-Eastern Province in a futile attempt to protect itself against the LTTE that had rejected the Amendment and boycotted the election — he said there was no ruling out that a future Northern provincial government would not do the same: “If [the NPC] form another army, can we afford another war now?”
Continue reading ‘“We Wont Risk Formation of Parallel Army by Provincial Govt Through Devolving of Police Powers”-Basil Rajapaksa’ »
Poet-Lyricist Vaali. File photo: K.Pichumani-via The Hindu
Lyricist and poet Vaali, who secured a place on a par with Kannadasan, at a time when the latter strode like a colossus in the Tamil film music world, died here on Thursday evening.
He was 82 and is survived by a son.
He was not well for quite some time and was in and out of hospital over the past month. The end came as one of his friends recited a few ‘pasurams’ — Ondrum marantharieyen and Oorilen kaaniyillai and Kulam tharum — from the ‘Nalayira Divyaprabandam’, a set of hymns sung by Vaishnavite minstrels.
Vaali, who had a five-decade-long association with the Tamil film industry, wrote over 15,000 songs — including 5,000 for music maestro Ilaiyaraja — for many a protagonist played by actors from M.G. Ramachandran to Dhanush.
Continue reading ‘Popular Tamil Film Lyricist and Poet “Vaali” (S.Rangarajan) Passes Away at 82 in Chennai Hospital’ »
“All the gang of those who rule us,
Hope our quarrels never stop.
Helping them to split and fool us,
So they can remain on top.”
Brecht (Solidarity Song)
Justice CV Wigneswaran
The practice has been around for millennia, but the term was born in 1944, out of a movie. In ‘Gaslight’ , a man uses a series of manipulative tricks to drive his wife insane. These include surreptitiously increasing and decreasing the gaslights in the house while pretending that the lighting has remained constant. As his wife moves from doubt and perplexity to terror, he cuts her off from friends/allies, so that her dependence on him becomes complete.
‘Gaslighting’ in psychology denotes a form of brainwashing, “the systemic attempt by one person to erode another’s reality” .
Rulers, who plan to take nations to places they do not intend to go, often use a form of mass-gaslighting. Threats are manufactured, enemies are created, suspicion and fear turned into emotional-constants. The people, rendered infantile, isolated and divided through pathological-mistrust, can be manipulated into embracing the abusive rulers as their sole protectors/deliverers.
That is the Rajapaksa-aim.
This is the Rajapaksa-narrative.
Continue reading ‘Can The Rajapaksas “Gaslight” the South Into Believing that Wigneswaran an Eminent Former Supreme Court Judge is a Tiger?’ »
By Harrish Thirukumaran
Nelson Mandela International Day is globally realized through its registered approval by the United Nations. It is to be celebrated every year on July 18, which is Mandela’s birthday.
The primary focus of the occasion is to commemorate Mandela’s commitment to the promotion of democracy, peace, and freedom. In addition, it calls for widespread volunteerism for the good of humanity in honour of his person.
Continue reading ‘Mandela Day-July 18: In honour of the beacon of inspiration to the world’ »
At the conclusion of the forthcoming Provincial Council elections, one fourth of the UNP Parliamentarians will cross over to the government, said Economic Development Deputy Minister S.M.Chandrasena.
He made this statement at a media conference held yesterday at his office.
Continue reading ‘All Judgements by Justice Wigneswaran and Ex-High Court Judge Warawewa Must be Reviewed by President says Deputy Minister Chandrasena’ »
A still from the film ‘Flying Fish.’
When the guns fell silent in May 2009, the people of Sri Lanka collectively breathed a sigh of relief. It didn’t matter whether they were from the North or the South, because the end of the war offered a new lease of life, the strategies and the style of battle execution notwithstanding. To the ordinary people of Sri Lanka, it signified an end to the ritual of violence, though they are still waiting for that eagerly-awaited new lease in life.
The flames of violent conflict have been fanned and sustained for nearly three decades. Four years after the war, instead of dousing those flames, hatred and bigotry are fed, with the perverse of mind still continuing to demonstrate uncanny skills in identifying other targets and using with dexterity, innovative weapons of destruction.
Continue reading ‘We Have Been Made to Sacrifice the Once Celebrated Concept of Sri Lankan Diversity on the Altar of Pseudo-Patriotism’ »
Hazeel Farisz and Benislos Thushan
(Velayutham Dayanithi former media coordinator of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam who surrendered to the Armed Forces on April 28th 2009 is very much in the news lately as a potential chief ministerial candidate of the United Peoples Freedom Alliance(UPFA)at the forthcoming Northern Provincial Council. Daya master as he is known spoke on a number of matters in an Interview with the “Daily Mirror”)
Q: Are you going to be the UPFA’s Chief Ministerial candidate at NPC elections?
I haven’t received any confirmation from the party yet.
Q: On what basis are you contesting the upcoming election in the North?
I’m mainly concerned about the welfare of the people in the North. I’ve already mentioned this to the media.
Continue reading ‘Military Presence in North can be Tolerated as there is a GreatThreat Posed by Politicians in South India and Diaspora Tamils –Daya Master’ »
Retired Supreme Court Judge C.V. Vigneswaran emerged from the shadow of a long and distinguished judicial career this week to be named as the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) chief ministerial candidate at the elections to the Northern Provincial Council (NPC).
In a country where judges of its highest court have spent their retirement in dignified silence and away from the hurly burly of politics, Justice Vigneswaran creates history by becoming the first Supreme Court Judge to contest elections.
Continue reading ‘Justice Wigneswaran has Articulated in the Public Domain His Support for Federalism and Greater Autonomy for the Tamil People’ »
15 July, 2013
ITN Attacks on Gamini Viyangoda: Protest Against Intimidating Social and Cultural Activists
We the undersigned, who stand for justice and democracy, note with regret and concern the use of State media, especially the Independent Television Network (ITN) that uses its air time to stick labels on and intimidate social and cultural activists who stand for plurality and fair play and for their dissenting views.
It is almost habitual for ITN to vilify and attack dissenting voices and the most recent victim of such irrational, racist and intimidating attacks over ITN in its 07.00 pm Sinhala news bulletin on Sunday 14 July, 2013 was reputed writer, columnist and media activist Gamini Viyangoda. His name had been dragged into the controversy of the suspension of the French Film Festival on 12 Friday 2013 for screening the Sinhala film directed by Sanjeewa Pushpakuamara, “Flying Fish”, held at the BMICH. It should be clearly said, the certification for screening provided for this film by the Public Performance Board had been exclusively for this festival and Viyangoda, certainly has no role in it.
Continue reading ‘ITN Attacks on Gamini Viyangoda: Protest Against Intimidating Social and Cultural Activists’ »
Justice C.V. Wigneswaran
Seven months after the unceremonious sacking of the country’s 43rd Chief Justice, another former Supreme Court Justice assumes political centre stage following a decision by the country’s main Tamil party to field a highly respected jurist and intellectual, native to the Jaffna District as its choice for the first-ever chief minister of the Northern Province at the forthcoming provincial poll.
Former Justice of the country’s highest court, C.V. Wigneswaran, renowned for his courageous positions both on and off the bench, enters the political fray at a crucial juncture. His candidacy will bring to the fore not only the fundamental issues pertaining to national reconciliation and the Tamil struggle for political autonomy at a decisive point in Sri Lanka’s history, it will also elevate the debate about the systematic collapse of the country’s judicial system, a deterioration Justice Wigneswaran warned of on his last day on the bench of the Supreme Court in 2004.
The impeachment drama that unfolded late last year and resulted in the removal of Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake after a dubious trial by Parliament had the legal fraternity suddenly seeking out figures such as Wigneswaran and likeminded professionals, those who had issued clarion calls about the impending crisis in the judicial arm of the State almost a decade ago, when no one was listening yet.
Continue reading ‘Justice Wigneswaran as TNA Candidate Symbolises the Spirit and Resilience of the Tamil People’ »
By Lakna Paranamanna
Former Supreme Court Judge, C. V. Wigneswaran
When he decided to contest as the TNA’s Chief Ministerial candidate at the upcoming Northern provincial poll, it was not the first time that former Supreme Court Judge, C. V. Wigneswaran became a newsmaker.
A brilliant legal mind, renowned for causing ripples while he was a member of the upper Judiciary and even after retirement, for his forthright speeches and judgments dispensed in the true spirit of law, former Justice Wigneswaran in a candid interview with Daily Mirror shared his reasons for deciding to enter politics and of his views on the contending issues of 13A that has emerged before the decisive Northern election due in September. . . .
Following are the excerpts:
Q: When your name was suggested as a likely Chief Ministerial candidate for TNA at the upcoming Northern Provincial Council (PC) polls, you initially professed a disinterest in entering politics. But recently, you expressed willingness to accept the invitation if all five parties unanimously agreed to your candidature, which they did yesterday. What reasons led to this change in your position?
Continue reading ‘“How Can the TNA be Proxies of the LTTE if it has been Destroyed and is Non-existent ?-CV Wigneswaran’ »
The chief ministerial candidate of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), C.V. Vigneswaran, fired his first ‘salvo’ yesterday, urging President Mahinda Rajapaksa to remove the military officials who are functioning as Governors of the Northern and Eastern Provinces.
Continue reading ‘TNA Chief Ministerial Candidate CV Wignesewaran Wants President Rajapaksa to Remove Military Officials Functioning as Northern and Eastern Province Governors’ »
An angry sequence of tweets by young and popular music director G.V. Prakash on dominant music labels ripping off music directors and lyricists by forcing them to sign contracts surrendering future royalties on the music score for movies has found traction among leading artists in the Tamil film industry.
The young music director, whose songs for the upcoming Vijay-starrer Thalaivaa has become a chart-topper in recent weeks, tweeted on Monday on his Twitter account (@gvprakash): “Some audio companies are stealing from composers, lyricists and making them sign fake agreements! Not fair!” and “Royalty is the basic right of the creator and it stays with him or her. Trying to steal that from them is cheap!”
Prakash found backers in popular lyricist Madhan Karky and music director Vijay Antony, among others, and by Tuesday afternoon most of the Tamil film industry seemed to agree with him.
Continue reading ‘Tamil Film Music Composer GV Prakash Flays Audio Firms for Ripping Off Lyricists and Musicians by not Paying Proper Royalties’ »
Upul Joseph Fernando
“If Northern elections are held without removing police and land powers from the 13th Amendment, I will resign from my ministerial portfolio.”
– Wimal Weerawansa
As is evident now, Mahinda Rajapaksa, is planning to go ahead with the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) elections, with police and land powers intact. Yet, there is no indication of Wimal Weerawansa resigning from the Cabinet, as proclaimed by him in the above quotation.
Weerawansa’s conspicuous silence on the issue could be because of two reasons – either he doesn’t want to lose his ministerial portfolio by revisiting his promise or Mahinda Rajapaksa may have given a conspiratorial undertaking after the election, action will be taken to withdraw police and land powers from the Northern Provincial Council.
The rumour mills have churned up many a likely scenario in this matter, further compounding the 13A conundrum. Some believe India had warned the government against any pre-election change to the existing provisions of the 13th Amendment; albeit leaving the door open for such action sometime in the future, if needed. A government big wig called it a trap.
Continue reading ‘Dilution of Devolution Via Amendment to 13th Amendment May happen After Northern Provincial Elections’ »
(On the trail of the Olive Ridley, marine researcher S. Balasubramani talks to Geeta Padmanabhan about historical, literary and scientific evidences that point to Besant Nagar, once called Aamaiyur, as home to these endangered turtles)
“Besant Nagar was once called Aamaiyur (place of turtles)! A 895 AD relic of Nrupatunga Varman found in Ambur stands testimony to this,” said Ramjee Nagarajan of the Centre for Environment Education. This was exciting news.
The close connection between Olive Ridley turtles and the Besant Nagar beach area is well-known. But written in stone? We needed to know more.
Continue reading ‘Besant Nagar in Chennai was Known as “Aamaiyoor”(place of Turtles)in the Past Due to Abundance of Olive Ridley Turtles’ »
Ambal Ramamurti, freedom fighter and wife of late CPI (M) leader P. Ramamurti, passed away here on Tuesday.
She was 87 and is survived by daughters Dr. Ponni Ramamurti and senior advocate R. Vaigai.
True to their revolutionary beliefs, P. Ramamurti and Ambal had an inter-caste marriage in 1952.
Ramamurti was then leader of the opposition in the Madras Legislative Assembly. Their marriage was presided over by EVR Periyar, rationalist and social reformer, and it was a ritual-free wedding referred to as a ‘self-respect’ (suyamariyadai) marriage.
Continue reading ‘Indian Freedom Fighter Ambal the CPI(Marxist) Legendary Leader P.Ramamurti’s Wife Passes Away’ »
(Dr.Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu,Executive Director of the Centre for Policy alternatives has sent a letter to Mr.Rosmand Senaratne ,chairman Independent Television Network about a news telecast on July 14th 2013 which was allegedly wrong and inaccurate. Dr.saravanamuttu states that references in the ITN news cast were defamatory with intent to arouse public opinion against the CPA and himself.The letter which has been released to the media in public interest is reporoduced here in full)
Mr. Rosmand Senaratne,
Independent Television Network (ITN),
16 July 2013
Dear Mr. Senaratne,
I am writing with reference to the Sinhala language 7 pm news broadcast of the Independent Television Network (ITN) on Sunday 14th July 2013.
Continue reading ‘Dr.Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu May Take Legal Action Against Independent Television Network Over Allegedly Defamatory News Cast’ »
by Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka
In this country, it is a rarity to witness really smart politics on strategic issues. We have just done so and got two breakthrough moves on the same issue. The first was by President Rajapaksa who chose to go ahead with the election to the Northern Provincial Council and have a meeting with Mr Sampanthan, the TNA leader. The second was by Mr Sampanthan who worked hard to persuade his coalition to field Justice Wigneswaran as the Chief Ministerial candidate.
Justice Wigneswaran is a candidate that every Tamil can be proud of to have as his and her representative, and may make a Chief Minister that most Sri Lankans of whichever ethnicity or religion can be proud of. In fact he will have the salutary effect of raising the bar of performance for every chief minister and Sri Lankan politician throughout the island.
Continue reading ‘Justice Wigneswaran who is Nobody’s”Malli”Will not Bend the Knee and Tug his Forelock Before the Sinhala Establishment’ »
Retired Supreme Court Judge CV Wigneswaran has been selected as unanimously by the Tamil National Alliance to be its Chief Ministerial Candidate in the forthcoming Northern Provincial Council Elections. I am reproducing here an in depth interview of Justice Wigneswaran by Ayesha Zuhair for the “Daily Mirror” in December 2011. The Interview was posted on this blog earlier with an introduction by myself. The interview along with the introduction is posted here again to enable readers to gain an insight into CV Wigneswaran and his thoughts-DBS Jeyaraj
Justice C.V. Wigneswaran lighting the oil lamp~at Thanthai Chelvanayagam Memorial Lecture-April 2013-picture by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai ©
An In-depth Interview with former Supreme Court Judge CV Wigneswaran
By Ayesha Zuhair
Continue reading ‘Maximum Devolution to the Periphery Without a Structural Opportunity for Interference From the Centre Should Appease Tamils –CV Wigneswaran’ »
Dilrukshi Handunnetti -(With additional reporting by Vinoja Rajamani)
The inclusion of the five times international award-winning Sri Lankan film, Flying Fish (Igillena Maluwo) has led to the suspension of the French Film Festival, organized by the French Embassy in Colombo in association with Alliance Francaise de Kotte, for the alleged negative portrayal of the Sri Lankan Security Forces.
Directed by young film maker, Sanjeewa Pushpakumara, and produced by the director and Manohan Nanayakkara, the movie premiered in January 2011, as part of the Rotterdam Festival’s Tiger Awards Competition.
With Sri Lanka’s defence authorities poised to launch an immediate investigation against those involved in the making of the movie and the funding sources, they have raised the query as to why a film that was considered ‘offensive and unsuitable’ by the authorities, was certified as suitable for screening at an international film screening by the Public Performance Board (PPB).
Continue reading ‘Furore Over “Flying Fish”(Igillena Maluwo)Film:Artistic Expression Crushed Under Jackboots?’ »
Friday the 12th marked the 75th birth anniversary of Jaishankar. In his heyday, Jai, as he was known, was hailed as Tamil cinema’s answer to James Bond. Action was his forte, till K. Balachander saw his potential and honed him as a performer par excellence in Nootrukku Nooru. And it was KB again who brought out Jai’s youthful enthusiasm to the fore in Poovaa Thalaiyaa. After more than a 100 films as hero, Jaishankar went on to work in several films as a character actor. Years have rolled by but even today his directors and colleagues in the film industry remember the actor’s generosity and humaneness as much as they do his friendliness and zest …
Continue reading ‘James Bond of Tamil Cinema: 75th Birth Anniversary of Actor Jaishankar.’ »
Pran Kishan Sikand, actor, passed away in Mumbai on July 12, 2013. He was born in Delhi on February 12, 1920. He is survived by his wife, Shukla, and three children.
“And Pran.” These were the words in the opening credits of many a hit film in the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s and the audience in the darkened auditorium immediately knew that the movie, however good or bad it otherwise was, would have some crackling villainy because it starred the original bad man, Pran. The “And” ensured that he was not just on equal status with the stars but a tad higher, since his presence could affect the box office fortunes of the movie. Indeed, it became so much part of his name that his biography by Bunny Reuben was titled …and Pran.
Continue reading ‘Pran:Villain of Hindi Movies with Panache and Aplomb’ »
Colombo Chief Magistrate, Gihan Pilapitiya, yesterday ordered the relevant officials to arrest Logeshwaram Manimaran and hand him over to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), if he attempted to enter Sri Lanka using his British passport.
Manimaran who invaded the pitch carrying a Tiger flag during the semi-final match between Sri Lanka and India of ICC Champions Trophy at Cardiff Ground, England, will be subjected to further interrogation over an alleged multi-million rupees ATM fraud, the judge announced.
Continue reading ‘Logeshwaran Manimaran the Cardiff Pitch Invader with Tiger Flag to be Arrested if he Tries to Enter Sri Lanka on British Passport’ »
Dr. Vickremabahu Karunaratne
Some Tamil intellectuals believe that, rather than beat about the bush, TNA should go straight for a federal solution; as the 13th Amendment plus is extremely vague and doesn’t give much power to the Tamils. This has to be done even if some may say that TNA is asking for the moon, because that is politics. The Tamils wanted a separate state like what the South Sudanese needed, but India wouldn’t agree to that for the simple reason that it could inspire the separatist within India. That should be clear to everybody. However, they should at least agree to a federal solution, where each community can look after its own affairs. Also, these radicals say that TNA has failed in mobilising a people’s struggle, failed in politicising people on the question of rights, failed in placing a fully-fledged federal solution draft as an alternative to separate Tamil Eelam, failed in forging alliance with Muslims and Up-country Tamils, failed in addressing Sinhala people on the justice behind the Tamil struggle, failed in effectively using the post-war international situation and failed in transparency within the alliance itself.
Continue reading ‘Mass Uprising in South is Necessary for Tamil People to Move Forward in their Freedom Struggle’ »
N Sathiya Moorthy
The signing of the ‘Outcome Document’ on trilateral maritime security cooperation between India, Maldives and Sri Lanka in Colombo recently is significant for more reasons than one. The overlapping strategic security concerns of the three South Asian nations in the shared Indian Ocean neighbourhood apart, it may herald the shaping of the post-war India policy of Sri Lanka. To a greater or lesser extent, the same may be true of Maldives, too.
India’s National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon, who was in Colombo for signing the Outcome Document, discussed Sri Lanka’s ethnic issue and proposed amendments to, and abrogation of 13-A, with President Mahinda Rajapakasa and various political party leaders, starting with the TNA and the UNP Opposition at the national-level. Before him, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other interlocutors conveyed continuing Indian concerns in this regard to Sri Lanka’s Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa at New Delhi.
The Indian leadership had also met with a visiting TNA delegation a fortnight earlier, as part of the continuing engagement with stake-holders in Sri Lanka, without allowing it to be seen as interfering in the internal affairs of the island-nation. Rightly and rightfully, India, for some time, has delineated the continuing post-war concerns on the ethnic issue, from the Tamil polity in Sri Lanka, and the ‘Tamil Nadu factor’ – particularly for the benefit of Sinhala hard-liners in the island-nation.
Continue reading ‘Is Sri Lanka Evolving a Three -Track Policy Towards India?’ »
The concept of devolution is the passing down of governmental powers in respect of the periphery – from the Centre to various organs in the periphery. The object theoretically sought to be achieved by this process is to enable the people of an area to look after their own affairs. The 13th Amendment is alleged to have been enacted to achieve this objective.
However, an examination of the manner in which the 13th Amendment ‘worked’ and/or was `put into practice’ would show beyond doubt that quite apart from giving more and more powers to political parties and giving them more opportunities of robbing the people by the expenditure of their funds on rubbish that did not in any way benefit those people, and also providing employment opportunities for the otherwise unemployable supporters of parties, the 13th Amendment never came anywhere close to achieving the purported objective of devolution.
Let us start at the beginning. If the object of the 13th Amendment was to enable the people of each province to look after their own affairs, it must follow that it is the people of each area who were the major influencing force or the major determining force in making decisions about the governance of each province.
It is more than laughable to even imagine that such a thing happened.
Continue reading ‘No Political Party has Given a Free Hand to a Chief Minister to Attend to Affairs of that Province’ »
Now retired Supreme Court Judge, C.V. Wigneswaran created waves in judicial circles on his last day on the bench when he criticised the present judicial system as being fraught with personal prejudice and subjective thinking, warning that the present conditions did not bode well for the future of the judiciary in the country. In an interview with The Sunday Leader, Justice Wigneswaran outlined about instances in his own career when he came face to face with this prejudice and gave his recommendations on how the judicial system could be reformed.
Following are excerpts:
Continue reading ‘“Justice on a Razor’s Edge”- An Interview with Retired Judge CV Wigneswaran (31 0ct.2004 The Sunday Leader)’ »
Retired Supreme court Judge CV Wigneswaran-pic by: Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai
The premier Political configuration representing the Sri Lankan Tamils –Tamil National Alliance – has decided to field former Supreme court judge CV Wigneswaran as its Chief ministerial candidate for the forthcoming elections to the Northern Provincial Council.
The decision was arrived at on Monday July 15th 2013 when the “Orunginaippuk Kuzhu”(coordinating committee )comprising 21 representatives from the five constituent partners of the met at the Colombo party office of the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchi(ITAK)in Bambalapitiya.
Continue reading ‘“Mavai” Senathirajah MP Stands Down in Favour of Ex-Judge CV Wigneswaran as TNA Chief Ministerial Candidate for Northern Poll’ »
DR DAYAN JAYATILLEKA
Does anyone know who made the decision to dabble with nuclear power sources and if that weren’t enough, attempt a tie up with a chemical and biological research institute?
To put it more plainly, who even introduced the words nuclear, chemical and biological into the Sri Lankan policy agenda?
Why, at a moment when we are under the scrutiny of the USA, would we even use the terms nuclear, chemical and biological, which are terms that trigger extreme apprehension in the world order and especially among those who dominate it?
When we – or some of us – are sure that the West is out to get us, why would we provide the best of all possible sticks for them to beat us with?
Continue reading ‘Why Is Sri Lanka Complicating relations With USA and India by Entering “Nuclear,Chemical and Biological”Areas With Russia and Pakistan?’ »
by D.B.S. Jeyaraj
Somasuntharam Senathirajah alias “Mavai”Senathirajah of the Tamil National Alliance(TNA) has set his sights on the Northern Province Chief Minister post. The six foot septuagenarian currently representing Jaffna district in Parliament has staked his claim to be the newly constituted Northern Provincial council’s first elected chief minister in an intriguing political move that is seemingly defiant of the intentions of TNA Parliamentary group leader Rajavarothayam Sampanthan on this issue.Senathirajah along with his supporters has also launched a multi-pronged campaign with the aim of boosting his claim to be Chief minister.
Justice C.V.Wigneswaran delivering “Whither Sri Lankan Tamils”, Thanthai Chelvanayagam Memorial Lecture at New Kathiresan hall, April 2013~picture by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai ©
Sampanthan the veteran Tamil leader representing Trincomalee district in Parliament wants to nominate retired Supreme court Judge C.V. Wigneswaran as the chief ministerial candidate of the TNA.There is strong support for Wigneswaran’s candidacy among influential sections of the TNA both in Sri Lanka and abroad.
Continue reading ‘Will Retd Judge Wigneswaran or Jaffna Dist MP “Mavai”Senathirajah Become TNA Chief Minister of North?’ »
The government’s front man in the North and Minister of Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development, Douglas Devananda, says it has been his dream for the past 20 years to be the Chief Minister of the Northern Province and warns against fielding former LTTE heavyweights in the government ticket for the forthcoming Provincial Council election.He also says the government may be scared of the prospect of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) winning the North, hence, the rush to change the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.“Even the President has said, very openly on several instances that, if Douglas Devananda comes to power in the North, he will have no issues with regard to any form of devolution of powers.”
The Leader of the Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP) spoke to Ranga Jayasuriya of Ceylon Today on a range of issues.
Following are excerpts:
Continue reading ‘If the LTTE Could Not Kill me after Trying 13 Times How Can Daya Master and Thamilini Defeat Me? Asks Douglas Devananda’ »
Former media spokesman of the LTTE Velayutham Dayanidhi alias Daya Master is to contest for the forthcoming Northern Provincial Council election under the UPFA banner. He said that his decision to contest is aimed at developing the Northern Province and improving the lives of the war affected people in the North.
Following are excerpts of the interview:
Q: Do you think that the holding of the Northern Provincial Council election would help in post war reconciliation?
A: Yes, I certainly think so. My main purpose in contesting for the Northern Provincial Council elections is to develop the Northern Province and improve the lives of the war affected, including the ex-LTTE cadres.
Continue reading ‘“I Want to Develop Northern Province and Improve Lives of the War Affected Including the Ex-LTTE Cadres”-Daya Master’ »
N Sathiya Moorthy
Media reports have claimed or conveyed that visiting Indian National Security Advisor (NSA) met Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and other Sri Lankan leaders in Colombo recently, and expressed India’s views on the current islandwide discourse on 13-A and the ethnic issue. A couple of days earlier, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had conveyed such concerns to Sri Lanka’s Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa in New Delhi, personally.
During the week, the Election Commissioner (EC) also announced first-time polls to the Tamil-majority Northern Provincial Council (NPC). When elected, the NPC will be at the centre of 13-A related issues and concerns. It may be worth its while for the Government to wait until after the newly-elected NPC had settled down to work and discussed the issues at their official levels before proceeding substantially with the Parliamentary Select Committee’s (PSC) work. The temptation to do otherwise is even more – but that could hardly produce any results.
Continue reading ‘No Indication So far that Parliamentary Select Committee will deliver a Balanced Unbiased Package’ »
“If you chase two rabbits, both will escape.”
Pundits argue and debate. Constitutional lawyers ponder and deliberate. Newsmen report and sometimes distort beyond recognition; but the decision to implement the Thirteenth Amendment in full, both in chapter and verse and in spirit, is not a legal or a constitutional one; nor is it an academic exercise; it is fundamentally a political decision, a decision bearing such a burdensome magnitude, it comes but rarely in history and falls only on rarer leaders and the rarest have the courage, stamina and will power to withstand and endure. The courageous carry it to a finish while the weak-stomached and softies fall by the wayside. That is precisely what befell S W R D Bandaranaike in 1957 and Dudley Senanayake in 1968. Both S W R D and Dudley entered into agreements with the leaders of the major Tamil political party at the time, Illankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi (ITAK), more popularly known as the Federal Party, but did not possess that quality of endurance and will power to implement the respective Pacts.
The 13th Amendment is very much akin, maybe not in legal construction and political structure, but in détente-spirit to the fundamentals of the Bandaranaike-Chelvanayagam Pact and Dudley-Chelvanayagam Pact. In the fifties and sixties, when the leaders of the Sri Lankan governments were seen as more liberal-minded- both Dudley Senanayake and S W R D Bandaranaike were considered quintessential liberals- J R Jayewardene was reckoned to be a conservative in the traditional sense of the word. As a matter of fact, the then left-wing politicians used J R for their target practice, hurling many a scornful political insinuation to brand him as a regressive, anti-socialist capitalist safeguarding the interests of America and the western world rather than traditional Sri Lankan values.But fate so decreed that it was this ‘conservative’ leader who had the stomach, guts and resilience to introduce and implement an ‘action plan’ to accommodate the long-awaited demands/interests of the Tamil people. That ‘action plan’ came in the form of the thirteenth Amendment and its partial implementation has taken deep root in this country’s administrative life over the last twenty five years resulting in the emergence of regional political leaders who rendered a new dimension to local politics.
Continue reading ‘13th Amendment is very much Akin in “Detente -Spirit”to the Fundamentals of the Banda-Chelva and Dudley-Chelva Pacts’ »
By R. M. B. Senanayake
The government seems to be toying with the idea of holding a national referendum on the abolition of or changes in the 13th amendment. But can an ethno-religious majority decide against the rights of a minority by a majority vote? A certain institutional structure has been fashioned to resolve the grievances of the Tamil minority and to protect their rights with regard to their language, religion, culture, land and personal security of the minority. They have for long protested at what they called discrimination against them by the Sinhala dominated State. There is a UN Declaration called the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
The Tamil minority has been complaining that they have been disadvantaged and discriminated against since 1956. They say their language and cultural rights have been denied and point to past attacks on the Hindu writers Conference. They say they have to deal with the State in Sinhala even in the areas where they are in a majority. They also say they have been deprived of personal security of life and limb and point to violence against them in 1958, 1977 and 1983. They point out that the Sinhala majority State failed to protect them from such violence. So they ask for police powers in areas where they constitute a majority. They say they cannot trust the Sinhala majority Police to act impartially.
Continue reading ‘Ethno-Religious Majority Has no Right to Deprive Minorities of their Rights Through Majority Vote at a National Referendum’ »
COLOMBO, 12 July 2013 (IRIN) - Thousands of permanent homes needed for returnees to northern Sri Lanka in the aftermath of a 26-year civil war which ended in 2009, are not being built because of a lack of donor funding.
“Although the remaining gap in the housing sector in the north keeps changing due to new returnees, there is a serious funding gap for at least another 30,000 houses immediately,” said Laxman Perera, programme manager for the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) in Sri Lanka.
“How we’ll finance the remaining homes remains unclear,” said Tissa Abeywickrama, director-general of the Sri Lanka Red Cross (SLRC).
Continue reading ‘Lack of Donor Funding Delays Construction of 30,000 Permanent Homes For Returnees in Northern Sri Lanka’ »
In an apparent tit for tat, Sri Lanka is moving in the direction of a nuclear pact with Pakistan after India voted against it at the UN this year.
At the same time, it is dragging its feet on a similar pact with India by not scheduling talks despite Delhi’s keenness to conclude the agreement soon.
Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka Delays Responding to Indian Offer of Nuclear Pact and Moves Towards Nuclear Agreement with Pakistan’ »
Jaffna District Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP Sivagnanam Sritharan has claimed that he recently thwarted an attempt by the army in the north to rape 200 Tamil speaking girls.
Addressing a group of Sri Lankans at Murugan kovil in Montreal on July 10, MP Sritharan alleged that the girls were being taken away by the army when he intervened. The MP was responding to a member of the audience who queried his motive for campaigning against the government while being a member of parliament.
Continue reading ‘TNA MP Sritharan Reportedly Claims in Montreal That he Thwarted Attempt by Lankan Army to Rape 200 Tamil speaking Girls’ »
CHENNAI: Security has been tightened at the Sri Lankan deputy high commission in Nungambakkam after the officials there complained of receiving a threat letter a couple of days ago.
The officials on Saturday submitted to police commissioner S George a post card containing a few lines warning that bombs would go off on the premises of the mission. The letter also condemned the activities of the Sri Lankan government.
Continue reading ‘Security Increased by 35 More Police Personnel for Lankan Deputy High Commission in Chennai Following Bomb Threat’ »
““It was in the basement of the Sri Lankan Criminal Investigation Department… we sat and listened as a group of senior police officers took us through the case. My stomach churned as we learned of the sickening and horrific details of the completely unprovoked attack that Khuram and his partner had been subjected to”
British Parliamentarian Simon Danczuk
“They started beating me. I fell to the ground….. They killed Khuram and sexually assaulted me…”
That was Victoria Tkacheva, the 24 year old Russian tourist, who, with her companion Khuram Shaikh, came to Sri Lanka to enjoy a holiday in Paradise and found, instead, Hell.
According to witnesses, Ms. Tkacheva was discovered in a room, naked and unconscious. The police subsequently confirmed that she was either raped or sexually assaulted: “She had been raped or sexually assaulted and had suffered vaginal injuries, according to a Sri Lankan police report” .
Ms. Tkacheva waived her right to anonymity as a rape-victim because she wanted justice.
Sadly, justice, in Rajapaksa Sri Lanka, is the ultimate oxymoron.
Continue reading ‘A Rajapaksa Acolyte Can Commit The Most Horrific Of Crimes Publicly And Get Away With It’ »
Recent debates surrounding the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution reflect the extreme polarization of Sri Lanka’s political discourse. While the issue is indeed emotive, we have nothing to gain from anything but a clinical approach to these questions. If reason is to prevail in our politics, then reason must prevail in our thinking – and our thinking about the Thirteenth Amendment is a good place to start.
The Thirteenth Amendment provides for a measure of devolution to the Provinces through Provincial Councils. The Amendment however, is applied within the super-structure of the country’s unitary constitution. The powers devolved under the Thirteenth Amendment are indeed meagre. There is provision for a measure of powers of land, law and order, education, health and similar subjects – but even in respect of these, the centre retains a great measure of control. For example, the subject of “national policy in respect of all subjects” lies with the centre, and notwithstanding some limitations imposed on the use of this ruse by the Supreme Court in times past, it has been invoked widely, illegally and most inappropriately by the centre to take back devolved powers. In fact, many of the executive and legislative powers devolved under the Amendment are virtually impossible to exercise fully and effectively if the centre chooses to impose roadblocks. This could be instanced by gubernatorial and presidential interference with the statute-making powers of the Provincial Councils, or through the Governor refusing to cooperate with an elected Board of Ministers.
Continue reading ‘“I do not Consider the 13th Amendment a Starting Point,Middle Point or End Point to a Genuine Polilitical Solution”’ »
Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has told Indian National Security Advisor Shiv Shanker Menon that devolution of police powers under the 13th Amendment to the Constitution would be inimical to Sri Lanka’s national security interests and therefore the issue was not negotiable.
The Defence Secretary had reiterated the government’s position at a one-on-one meeting with Menon, one-time India’s High Commissioner in Colombo at the Ministry of Defence in Colombo last Monday (July 8).
Continue reading ‘“No Police Powers for Provincial Councils” – Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Tells Shiv Shankar Menon.’ »
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa engaged in talks regarding problems faced by Tamils in Sri Lanka with Tamil National Alliance leader Rajavarothayam Sampanthan yesterday.
External Affairs minister Prof.GL Peiris and Presidential secretary Lalith Weeratunga were also present at the discussion.
The meeting was held in a cordial atmosphere was due to an invitation extended by President Rajapaksa.
Continue reading ‘President Mahinda Rajapaksa Meets TNA Leader Rajavarothayam Sampanthan For Discussions on the Tamil National Question’ »
Bishop Marius Peiris
– Auxiliary Bishop Archdiocese of Colombo
I wish to elaborate some of the crucial issues confronting Sri Lanka today. To undertake such a task there is a need to scrutinize the signs of the times in Sri Lanka, especially during the last decade, placing it in its historical context. I wish to state that our country is on the brink of a catastrophe. An analysis of the political, economic, religious and other factors stand testimony to this fact. Politically, we are a divided nation. The military defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has not solved the ethnic problem.
We have failed to win the minds and hearts of our people. The preamble to the UNESCO Charter quite rightly says, ‘If wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be established.’ The need of the hour is to build a united Sri Lanka. A united Sri Lanka can only be built through a Sri Lankan identity, not a Sinhala Buddhist or Tamil Nationalist identity.
Sri Lanka is a plural society. There is a plurality of races, religions, regions and castes in Sri Lanka. Religion has become a divisive factor in our society. Religion has germinated an ideology among the Sinhalese, which is politically emotive and volatile. Concepts which are exclusivist like ‘Sinhala Buddhist’ and ‘Tamil Nationalist’ fanned by the DMK of Tamil Nadu are detrimental to the evolution of a unified State. There are the newest and crudest versions of Sinhala and Tamil Nationalism. These extremists and divisive forces cannot bring about a ‘United Sri Lanka.’
Continue reading ‘Reconciliation has to be Achieved Between the Two Major Races in Sri Lanka’ »
By Kumi Samuel and Chulani Kodikara
War is a gendered process. Post-war is no different. It may be a cliché to say that in Sri Lanka, as elsewhere in the world, the most visible and harmful impact of 30 years of war has been on women, but that is the reality. As men joined militant groups or the armed forces, were arrested, abducted, disappeared, or took flight to safer locations outside the community or the country, women were left behind to cope with fractured families and communities; multiple displacement, transition in alien spaces, such as camps for the displaced; or resettlement in distant and unfamiliar regions.
Untold numbers of women, mostly Tamil, (but including a significant number of Muslim and Sinhala women living in conflict affected areas) became de facto and de jure heads of household and were thrust into new roles, both within and outside the private domain. They became responsible for the physical and economic security and survival of their families and had to battle the cultural constraints that challenged this conflict-imposed transition. While the violence of war and attendant militarism also contributed to increase the nature and levels of violence against women, ranging from sexual harassment to rape and sexual torture they were never merely victims of the war and violence.
Continue reading ‘Many Women who Experienced War are Unwilling to Resume Pre-War Gender Roles in the Post-war Context’ »
“Until the lion has a historian of his own, the tale of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.”
Speaking at a ‘Vipakshaye Virodaya’ press conference in Colombo on Sunday, June 7, 2013,Tamil National Alliance Parliamentarian M. Sumanthiran asserted that the Parliamentary Select Committee appointed to look into any changes to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution is not a “Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) at all, but actually a “President’s Select Committee.” He stated that the idea for a PSC to find a solution to the national issue was formulated in September 2011 during bilateral discussions held between the Tamil National Alliance and the Government and that it was pushed “in-between” talks.He further elaborated that the government asked the TNA to put aside the discussions and join the parliamentary committee instead, with the assurance that agreements they had already reached during the talks would be taken to the PSC.He stated that after an agreement was then reached between the President and the leader of the TNA on conditions for both to participate in the PSC, the government went back on its word, exited the bilateral discussions and asked the TNA to just attend the parliamentary committee.
Sumanthiran said that was the reason the TNA did not attend the PSC, and that this matter was even raised in parliament by the Opposition Leader. “Now after 2 years have passed they are saying the Parliamentary Select Committee is being established and are asking us to join it,” he said. “We are not that stupid to attend such a select committee just shaking our hands.” The only negative aspect of the whole press conference was the very premise on which it was held. ‘Vipakshaye Virodaya’ is a farcical front that is being utilized by its main player, Ranil Wickremesinghe, the leader of the Opposition and the United National Party for his own insular reasons. It is a platform which is being used by the UNP leader to show the country that he is not alone in his fight against the Government. But in his mad rush in search of a national stage, Ranil does not seem to care that he is being identified and teamed up with those who have been totally discarded by the electorate. Other than the UNP itself and the TNA, there is no ‘Vipakshaya’ in the truest sense of the word. Members of all other factions that gather on this platform could hardly fill two buses today.
Continue reading ‘“Superiority”of the Sinhalese Majority Both in Numbers and Self-perception is Fast Becoming an Inescapable Reality’ »
People’s Movemenmt Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE)
Idinthakarai 627 104
For Immediate Release
July 11, 2013
The Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) has granted clearance for “First Approach to Criticality (FAC)” of Unit-1 of KKNPP “as the next major stage of its commissioning.” It is pertinent to remember that the AERB gave this very same clearance on August 10, 2012 (No. AERB/ITSD/PRESS/2012/03). That Clearance was to be followed by compliance to various pre-requisites, review of the various commissioning procedures, results, inspection reports etc.
Continue reading ‘Nuclear Authorities Have Ignored NDMA Safety Guidelines and Supreme Court Recommendations at Koodankulam -PMANE’ »
A firm “no nonsense” message from Indian Prime minister Manmohan Singh has been conveyed to Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa by Indian national security adviser Shiv Shankar Menon during his breakfast meeting with the Sri Lankan head of state on Tuesday July 9th 2013.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa met India’s National Security Advisor Mr. Shivshankar Menon, July 8, 2013-news.lk
According to informed Indian sources the message from Manmohan Singh had indicated that New Delhi expected President Rajapaksa to implement pledges made to India and the International community about implementing the Thirteenth Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution and also go beyond its framework to provide enhanced meaningful devolution to the existing Provincial Councils scheme.
If Sri Lanka failed to honour these pledges and attempted to diminish the scale and scope of Devolution currently available through Provincial Councils then India would be constrained from extending support to its Island neighbour when faced with pressures and problems in the International arena-This was the crux of the message from Manmohan Singh.
Continue reading ‘“No Help From India in International Arena if Sri Lanka Fails to Implement 13th Amendment in Full ”-Manmohan’s Message to Mahinda Via Menon’ »
“Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi desires that all religions should reside everywhere….”
Ashokan Rock Edict 7
The attack on Buddha Gaya is an outrage.
When the religious of the different religions refuse to coexist, when they accrue unto themselves the exclusive ownership of spiritual truths or geographic spaces, when rulers see in religions (and in the credulous religious) a means to temporal-power, societal-violence proliferates, wars ensue and tragedy strikes.
Sinhala-Buddhist supremacists proclaim Sri Lanka to be a Sinhala-Buddhist land, because a majority of its people are Sinhala-Buddhists . Based on this majoritarian-logic, they preach religious intolerance, rail against Christians, Muslims and Hindus and attack churches, mosques and kovils.
Continue reading ‘Can Bodu Bala Sena and Jathika Hela Urumaya Protect and Safeguard Sanchi,Ajanta,Kapilawastu and Lumbini in India and Nepal?’ »
by K. Thirukumaran
The Birth Centenary celebrations of Fr. Xavier Stanislaus Thani Nayagam have been held at the Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America convention (FeTNA) venue from July 5-6th at the Sony Centre in Toronto.
An exhibition of publications, photographs and mementos of Rev. Thani Nayagam was held open both days and a panel discussion on various aspects of Rev. Thani Nayagam’s vocation, scholarship, and commitment to language rights were held on July 6th. A key note address was delivered at the convention on the life and work of Rev. Thani Nayagam along with a short documentary and a book, ‘Tamilaram’ was also released.
Continue reading ‘Fr. Thani Nayagam Birth Centenary: “All humanity is my fraternity”’ »
Muslim community and Religious leaders have agreed to relocate a Mosque on Swarna Chaitiya road in the Grandpass area of Colombo in one month’s time due to an intensive protest campaign by the“Ravana Balaya” (Ravana Force)
The sequence of events relating to this “forced relocation” demonstrates a very high degree of extreme intolerance and hatred by the Ravana Balaya and the perceived collaboration of the Buddha Sasana ministry in the sordid exercise.Although the beleaguered Muslim community had tried very hard to be flexible and accommodating on this issue by suggesting reasonable alternatives the ethno religious fascists had demanded nothing less than a total relocation.
Continue reading ‘Mosque in Grandpass to be Relocated in One Month due to Protest Campaign by Ravana Balaya’ »
Sunday’s serial blasts at the Mahabodhi temple stoked differences among religious leaders in Bodh Gaya over the controversial Bodhgaya Temple Management Committee (BTMC) Act, 1949, which provides for a Hindu majority on the committee that looks after the complex.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa and First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa in Bodh Gaya, Feb 2013-news.lk
Following a public interest litigation petition, Bihar’s Home Department wrote to the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) in June this year, proposing an amendment to the Act. But officials declined to comment on what will happen to the proposal.
Continue reading ‘Buddhist Leaders Critical of Hindu Majority Bodhgaya Temple Management Committee After Mahabodhi Bomb Blasts’ »
by N Sathiya Moorthy
The death of Dalit youth Elavarasan under controversial circumstances in western Tamil Nadu’s Dharmapuri district, preceded by months of street-violence, media attention and court cases has brought to fore the ugly face of casteism in Dravidian Tamil Nadu, known better for the ‘social justice movement’ of the 20th century.
Coupled with another episode nearer to the State capital of Chennai in between, where the cadres of the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), backed by the Vanniar community, which tops the list of ‘Most Backward Class’ (MBC) in terms of numbers in the State, they have potential for violence and voter-loyalty in an election year.
Continue reading ‘Elavarasan Episode in Tamil Nadu Shows Dravidian Social Justice has no Impact on Spectre of Casteism’ »
Finally the President agreed to have provincial council elections, without any changes to the constitution. However, it is clear to everybody including Indian rulers that Mahinda did not try to honour his promises to India.
He showed, at least to those who are serious that he is not prepared to solve the national problem in the country. He wanted to avoid giving effect to 13A. Blame for this attitude cannot be imputed to the JHU and Weerawansa’s Party.
Continue reading ‘Did Mahinda’s Views on 13 A Plus Change Due to Gotabhaya’s Rejection of Entire Provincial Council System?’ »
Hot on the heels of many controversies surrounding several ministerial offspring, Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella was in the headlines for all the wrong reasons last week, when his son cricketer Ramith Rambukwella was embroiled in an unsavoury incident.
Rambukwella (Jnr) was flying to Britain as a member of the Sri Lanka ‘A’ cricket team and allegedly attempted to open the cabin door in midair, apparently mistaking it for a toilet door. The furore though was created by media reports in the British media which suggested that he was intoxicated.
Although there was general condemnation of the incident, the matter would have probably ended there as there were no casualties from the incident and no consequences as such except for some negative publicity for the Rambukwellas, the local cricket establishment and the country.
Continue reading ‘Minister Rambukwella or his Son Ramith Not Likely to Face any “Consequences” Due to Prevailing Climate of Impunity’ »
By Elizabeth Ponniah
Born in a small fishing village in the Jaffna Peninsula, Sangeetha (not her real name) and her family fled the conflict in the North in 1990, and lived as refugees in India for 23 years.
Despite the traumatic times she and her family had to face, Sangeetha, with determination, concentrated on her studies enabling her to achieve an MBA. She returned to her homeland in January 2013. On arrival at the Bandaranaike International Airport, an immigration officer had asked her for a bribe. Although horrified by what she had been confronted with, she had stood her ground, yet another example of her courage and resolve, and had refused to accede.
Having returned to the North, Sangeetha found employment, and now assists in the resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) in the North, overseeing areas of adminisntration. She is an outstanding example of a Diaspora member, who, with a positive outlook, is working to make a proactive change, of
herself and her country of birth, Sri Lanka.
In an interview with Ceylon Today, Sangeetha shares her experiences of the past three decades.
Continue reading ‘Renewing Life in Jaffna in Resettlement Process After Being a Refugee in India for 23 Years’ »
Dr. Colvin R de Silva
(Text of presentation given on 22 May 2013 by Dr. Selvi Thiruchandran at the Republic Day meeting on “For a New Constitution to Strengthen Democracy and National Unity”)
The UF Election Manifesto had a grandiose promise – of course with a conviction of purpose, i.e., to draft, adopt and operate a new constitution to make the country a free, sovereign and independent republic dedicated to the realisation of socialist democracy, guaranteeing fundamental rights and freedom for all. There are and always have been gaps between theory, aspirations and wishes and the practical realisation or implementation of these. The agents or agency of operationalisation may change and hence we will find gaps. My presentation today is not about those gaps but the gaps in the theory itself that guided the making of the constitution.
Continue reading ‘1972 Republican Constitution: How did Dr. Colvin R de Silva Slide From Statesman into Politician in Drafting it?’ »
Sri Lanka Cricket has slapped a ten-year ban on umpire Sagara Gallage and three years on Maurice Winston for their role in a fixing scandal last year while the third accused Gamini Dissanayake will be severely warned and demoted.
The decision will effectively end the careers of the disgraced duo of Gallage and Winston.
The decision to ban them was taken at a special executive committee meeting held yesterday and based on the recommendations made by the disciplinary committee.
Continue reading ‘10 and 3 year Bans on Umpires Sagara Gallage and Maurice Winston for Roles Played in Cricket Match Fixing Scandal’ »
by Bandu de Silva
The Indian domestic political system is in deep trouble despite the country making great headway in other directions, such as gaining nuclear power status and its overall economy about to make a big leap into the world of leading economic giants, competing with China. The trouble is how to keep India’s domestic political system under control with the supremacy of the Union at the centre.
This premise can fail if, as Paran Chopra, leading Indian analyst commenting on Indian interests in St. Gilan principles, emphasized, India does not examine the issue of whether the appeal of federalism, and particularly of its parliamentary variety, will become weaker or stronger if a federation’s claim to sovereignty is held to be a more qualified one than that of a unitary state, and if the parliamentary form became a laboratory for experimenting with the deflation of its sovereignty, through the conferment of diplomatic roles upon its constituents and penetration of boundaries – (The Hindu).
Continue reading ‘India Cannot Complain on Moral Grounds About Moves in Sri Lanka to Re-examine the 13th Constitutional Amendment’ »
Fresh moves by New Delhi this week to prevent Colombo from tinkering with the 13th Amendment appear to have further entrenched the two States into conflicting positions, with the Government insisting certain provisions must go while India was emphatic Sri Lanka cannot tamper unilaterally with the Indo-Lanka Accord.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday told a visiting senior Indian official that the Parliamentary Select Committee was the best possible forum to reach consensus on the contentious 13th Amendment to the Constitution and called on New Delhi to convince the country’s main Tamil party to join the process.
Continue reading ‘Conflicting Positions Between New Delhi and Colombo Over Thirteenth Constitutional Amendment Further Entrenched’ »
Former South African President PW Botha meets with then-President Nelson Mandela in 1995-nelsonmandela.org
DR DAYAN JAYATILLEKA
While it is desirable that a leader has an enlightened and transcendent vision for post-war nation-building, it is also understandable that a different kind of leader may engage in juggling and log-rolling at the same time.
What is not helpful though is when there are conflicting signals, crossed wires and wild swerves on matters of the highest importance and sensitivity.
A contradiction embedded at the heart of the policy of the Sri Lankan state surfaced during the visit of India’s National Security Advisor Shiv Shanker Menon. The surfacing took place not due to diligent delving by the Indian official but was exhibited in the response of the Sri Lankan state. That it has gone unremarked upon so far, says something about our political discourse.
What is that contradiction?
Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa and R.Sampanthan Must Talk to Each Other as Mandela and De Clerk did in South Africa’ »
(Text of Press release Issued by the High Commission of India,Colombo on the visit of India’s National security Adviser Shivshankar Menon to Sri Lanka from July 8th -9th 2013)
July 09, 2013
Mr. Shivshankar Menon, National Security Adviser of India, visited Colombo on 8-9 July 2013 to participate in the 2nd NSA-Level Meeting on Trilateral Cooperation on Maritime Security between India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives.
Governments of India, Sri Lanka and Maldives have been engaged in trilateral discussions to address the common maritime challenges in the Indian Ocean region. Following the meeting on 8 July, the three-side agreed on a roadmap for future cooperation in maritime security. In this context, they signed an Outcome Document outlining further collaborative measures in the areas of_inter alia_ Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA); strengthening coordination of maritime Search and Rescue (SAR); promoting marine oil pollution response cooperation; expanding ‘DOSTI’ (friendship) exercises;sharing of information on illegal maritime activities; and piracy.
Continue reading ‘India Tells Sri Lankan Political Leadership to Adhere to Commitment Given to India and International Community Of Political Settlement Going Beyond the 13th Amendment’ »
OUTCOME DOCUMENT OF THE SECOND NSA-LEVEL MEETING ON TRILATERAL COOPERATION ON MARITIME SECURITY BETWEEN INDIA, THE MALDIVES AND SRI LANKA
08, JULY 2013
1. The Second NSA-level Meeting on Trilateral Cooperation on Maritime Security between India, the Maldives and Sri Lanka (hereinafter referred to as the ‘Trilateral Meeting’) took place in Colombo on 8, July 2013. The Indian side was led by H E Shivshankar Menon, National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister, Republic of India, the Maldivian side by Hon Mohamed Nazim, Minister of Defence and National Security of the Republic of Maldives and the Sri Lanka side by Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Secretary, Ministry of Defence and Urban Development of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka (hereinafter referred to as the ‘three sides’).
Continue reading ‘Shivshankar Menon,Mohamed Nazim and Gotabaya Rajapaksa Sign Document On Trilateral Cooperation on Maritime Security Between India,Maldives and Sri Lanka’ »
Prof. Suresh Canagarajah
(Text of Speech by Prof. Suresh Canagarajah, Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Applied Linguistics and English,Pennsylvania State University, USA, at the THE ANNUAL PRIZE GIVING of St.Johns’ College,Jaffna held on Saturday 6th July, 2013)
Venerable Chairman, Mr. Principal, Staff of St John’s College, Parents, and Students:
It is a pleasure to be back in my alma mater on its 190th anniversary. All old boys will agree that we owe a lot to St John’s College for all that we have achieved here in Sri Lanka and abroad in our personal and professional lives. I want to start with two brief stories to demonstrate how the foundation provided by St John’s has helped me in my academic career. I hope that these stories show our students how a strong and meaningful early education is important for our success.
Prof. Suresh Canagarajah-pic courtesy of: aplng.la.psu.edu/
When I went to the US for graduate education from University of Jaffna, I was worried that the knowledge there would be so advanced that I won’t be able to follow the courses. For one particular course, I thought I should talk to the professor before the class to see if he would recommend that I delay following that course. Professor John Baugh spoke with me for about ten minutes and asked me what books I had read in my field and which scholars I knew. Half way through the conversation, his eyes widened, and he said, “Do you realize that you are one of the most widely read students in this department? You obviously have good reading skills and academic training. Where did you get this educational foundation?”
Continue reading ‘As One History of our Community Draws to an End There is a Need to Initiate a New Tradition of Learning and Education’ »
Col R Hariharan
I do not think there is any Tamil outfit which has either the motivation or capability to carry out an attack on a holy site like Bodh Gaya.
(Summary of answers given to print and electronic media questions on the serial blasts in Bodh Gaya on Sunday July 7, 2013.)
What is your take on the serial blasts in Bodh Gaya, although the police seem to have had timely alerts before they occurred?
Continue reading ‘No Tamil Outfit Has the Motivation or Capability to Carry Out an Attack on a Holy Site Like Bodh Gaya”-Col.Hariharan’ »
(Vijitha Rohana Wijemuni the Naval rating who attacked then Indian PM Rajiv Gandhi with his rifle butt in Colombo is now running his own record bar and doubles up as an astrologer.He spoke to « Daily Mirror” in an exclusive interview about the his eventful past explaining his motives and mindset)
Q. Twenty six years after the signing of the Indo-Lanka Accord now once again there is controversy over the 13th Amendment, the Provincial Council system and arguments for and against their continuation. What is your position today on this?
President J. R. Jayewardene signed this agreement against his conscience. He had no option but to sign it. Obviously to win voted in Tamil Nadu, Gandhi on the request of former Chief Minister M. G. Ramachandran violated our air space and dropped food in Jaffna. This was a warning to President Jayawardene. Then Mr.Jayewardene sent former National Security Minister Lalith Athulathmudali to the United States to meet President Ronald Ragan. However the US which was more interested in the Indian market refused to intervene in this crisis. President Jayewardene was thus helpless and had no option but to sign the Accord.
So even today I am strongly opposed to the 13 A and any move to divide this country. Why should we be scared of any outsider. We have defeated the most ruthless terrorist outfit in the world and I see no reason why we be scared of India.
We are not a state under India and we should do what we want. We must devolve powers through other local government bodies but should do away with the white elephant of Provincial Councils.
Continue reading ‘“I Intended to Kill Rajiv Gandhi” Says Wijemuni the Ex-Naval Rating Who Attacked Indian Premier in 1987’ »
By Prof. V. Suryanarayan
India is committed to achieving a bright future for the Sri Lankan Tamil community in a united Sri Lanka, in which all citizens can live in dignity, equality, and self-respect. In furtherance of this objective, India would work for a durable political solution through meaningful devolution of powers and the implementation of the 13th Amendment.
New Delhi’s commitment to the unity and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka, in which the Tamil identity can be protected and fostered, has not been appreciated both by the Sinhalese and the Tamil extremists. The Indo-Lanka Accord of 1987 and the subsequent 13th Amendment were viewed by important Sinhalese leaders as illustrations of India’s hegemonic designs.
Continue reading ‘New Delhi Cannot Remain Silent When Terms of Indo-Lanka Accord are Being Unilaterally Changed’ »
If leaked intelligence warnings that were cited by India’s political opposition in the aftermath of the bombing inside the Mahabodhi Temple in Bihar are anything to go by, they remove the pro-Tiger lobby in Tamil Nadu from the equation. It appears the pro-Tiger rump, chaotic and impudent as it may be, is not among the likely culprits.
Continue reading ‘Pro-Tiger Groups in Tamil Nadu Not Suspected of Involvement in Mahabodhi Bomb Blasts’ »
by Sulochana Ramiah Mohan
Director of the controversial documentary, No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka, Callum Macrae, confided to Ceylon Today that he has little chance of coming to Sri Lanka to cover the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), as certain heads of Sri Lankan missions have warned him that he will be not welcome in the country.
However, he insisted, as a media person he has the right to be in Sri Lanka to cover the event.
Continue reading ‘“No Fire Zone”Film Director Callum Macrae Says it is his right as a media person to cover Commonwealth Summit in Sri Lanka’ »
When it comes to public goods like the common defence and market efficiency, every State has a choice. According to the infamous analogy, in the zero-sum game of budget allocation, every State can decide whether to prioritize guns or butter. Guns represent the State’s ability to protect her stored capital and Butter represents her ability to generate capital. According to this simple analogy, a certain balance is clearly required as one without the other is bankrupt. Post-War societies present a unique opportunity.
Continue reading ‘“Are Tamils and Muslims Enemies of the State or Citizens of the State” Is the Question Before Armed Forces in North and East.’ »
Capt. Elmo Jayawardena
The New York Film Festival is over; the best actor award is securely placed in a little hamlet in Moratuwa and everyone has now come to know Jagath Chamila. Great feat and nothing should take away the luminosity he enjoys today as he richly deserves the accolade for the role he played as Sam in Sameege Kathawa. My lines are to praise him and state my humble or ‘not so humble’ opinion on an event that started on the banks of Bolgoda and crept its way to the silver screen in the Big Apple.
I saw the movie more than six times, from the first print that Director/Producer Priyankara Vithanachchi made. Let the movie speak for itself. A book and a movie are not easy to compare. Authors have space, and for them it is only a matter of spinning a story by minting words and expressions to arouse the interest of a reader. They have a wide canvas to beautify with colourful descriptions and well-constructed lines to fill their books. Film makers have a much harder task. They struggle in turbid tangles and battle multiple fronts. First with budgets, (do not forget this is Priyankara and not Spielberg.) They have to use so much creativity and do a balancing act in order to come out with the best possible combination to create a winning movie. There too the probabilities linger, to slip on the last step when victory is within reach. Priyankara made Sameege Kathawa with varying winds that blew mostly from negative directions. This was his first real film. How good is it? That you will see and decide for yourself, yes, it is in the eyes of the beholder. I only hope that Sameege Kathawa will hit the cinema halls fast as it is a people’s movie and they now have a national hero to watch.
Jagath won the award and he is a celebrity, a real one amidst the ‘card board Sandos’ we are forced to worship. I am waiting to see how the cookie crumbles. Will the masses get a chance to see Jagath playing Sammy, ASAP?
Continue reading ‘“Sameege Kathawa”Must Be Screened in Sri Lanka Soon for People to see how Jagath Chamila Became the Best Actor in New York’ »
Last Friday, Minister Basil Rajapaksa was in India in a situation no less crucial than the one in which he left for India in October 2008 when the war was reaching its peak. This time, however, his visit does not seem to have been as successful as the October 2008 visit. If his task was to convince India that the 13th Amendment to the constitution needs to be amended, he does not seem to have succeeded. The Indian External Affairs Minister had been emphasizing that the 13th Amendment should not only be fully implemented but that Sri Lanka should even go beyond it to ensure meaningful devolution to the provinces.
It’s now more than a quarter of a century since the Indo Lanka Peace Accord was entered into and the 13th Amendment enacted. It is highly unlikely that there is even one senior official in the Indian External Affairs Ministry who has read the 13th Amendment in full. The Indian External Affairs Minister is obviously going on briefings he gets from his officials. And the officials themselves would be going on what they hear from the TNA and various Sri Lankan NGOs. Because the Sri Lankan provincial councils system was modeled on the Indian system of devolution, most Indian bureaucrats would be under the impression that the system forced on Sri Lanka by India in 1987 is identical in all respects to the Indian system. They would not know that there are significant ways in which the Sri Lankan and Indian constitutional provisions on devolution differ.
In India, the powers of the central government, the state governments and the powers that can be concurrently exercised by both are contained in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution. The Indian Seventh Schedule lists the powers of the central government (the Indian Union list) first, followed by the list of powers of the states and finally the list of concurrent powers. The Indian dictated 13th Amendment to the Sri Lankan constitution saw the addition of the Ninth Schedule to the Sri Lankan constitution which is the equivalent of the Seventh Schedule of the Indian constitution. In contrast to the Indian Seventh Schedule which lists the powers of the central government first, the Sri Lankan Ninth Schedule has reversed this order by stating the powers of the provinces first, and then the powers of the central government followed by the list of concurrent powers.
Continue reading ‘Article 154G(11) Will be Govt’s Secret Weapon to Amend Powers of 13th Amendment Without Two-Thirds Majority’ »
The general perception that the 13th Amendment to the Constitution with the provisions for setting up Provincial Councils is an Indian imposition is factually incorrect. These provisions were apparently based on drafts submitted by the government of Sri Lanka. Mr. R. Sampanthan MP, the leader of the TNA in a recent interview published in the Asian Tribune 27th June states, “The 13th Amendment came out of extensive talks between the government and the TULF (the Predecessor of the TNA) in July August 1986. Secretary to the discussion was Mr. Felix Dias Abeysinghe former retired Commissioner of Elections.
The persons representing the GoSL were President Jayewardene, Ronnie de Mel, Lalith Athulathmudali, Gamini Dissanayake, A. C. S. Hameed, K. W. Devanayagam and Ranil Wickremesinghe. Representing the Tamil side were A. Amirthalingam, Sivasithamparam, Dr Neelan Tiruchelvam, V. Anandasangaree, Joseph Pararajasingham and R Sampanthan.” He states that they discussed nearly nine drafts. The Indo Sri Lanka Treaty was signed in July 1987. He goes on to say that what subsequently came out as the 13th Amendment was a watered down version of what had been agreed upon by the government and the TULF. The government of India was not represented at the talks. He states the minutes of all the talks and the relevant papers must be available in the presidential Office.
Continue reading ‘Perception of 13th Constitutional Amendment Being an Indian Imposition is Factually Incorrect’ »
In a wide ranging interview with the Daily Mirror, The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) leader, one of the few remaining Tamil nationalist politicians of a bygone era, Rajavarothayam Sampanthan, stated why he believed that Tamils were being considered as second class citizens, the importance for the full implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution and also responded to allegations against him and his party to the effect that they were the proxies of the LTTE and asserted his commitement to a united undivided Sri Lanka.
Q: You are seen as a contemporary leader of Tamil nationalism. What do you have to say to the repeatedly made allegation, that you are still espousing a separatist cause, a cause which the LTTE fought militarily for?
I think that is a totally wrong conception of our true role. I belong to the old Tamil political tradition, commenced by the Federal party way back in the late 50’s. We have been committed to non-violence and we have pursued our political agitation through non-violent and peaceful means. We have performed Sathyagrahas and conducted civil disobedience campaigns, we have never resorted to violence nor promoted anyone resorting to violence.
Continue reading ‘Indo-Sri Lanka Agreement is an International Treaty That Cannot be Unilaterally Abrogated Without Consequences-Sampanthan’ »
Col R Hariharan
President Mahinda Rajapaksa appears to have taken a pragmatic decision to go ahead with the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) election without tinkering with the 13th Amendment (13A). The presidential proclamation made on the election last Friday, has been welcomed by India as it has removed a rider that could have hobbled India-Sri Lanka relations. The NPC will go to polls along with the Central and North Western Provincial councils which have been dissolved. According to media reports the PC elections are likely to be held on September 27.
Fortuitously or otherwise, Basil Rajapaksa, Minister for Economic Development, and the President’s brother, was in New Delhi to convey the good news on holding the NPC election to Indian counterpart he was meeting. According to the Sri Lankan External Affairs Ministry’s statement, Rajapaksa’s visit to New Delhi was to deal with other areas of discussion, and was also “aimed at apprising the Indian leaders on Sri Lanka’s changes to the 13th amendment — the move to strip police and land powers to provinces.”
As it invariably happens when Indian and Sri Lankan counterparts meet, there are two versions on what the Sri Lanka minister discussed with Minister for External Affairs Salman Khurshid, National Security Advisor Shivshankara Menon and the Secretary MEA Rajan Mathai in New Delhi.
Continue reading ‘Will the TNA be Allowed to Rule the Northern Provincial Council in Case they get Most of the Seats in a Free Election?’ »
In his first remarks since returning from New Delhi, Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa pointedly refused to say whether the Indian Government insists on Sri Lanka consulting it before changing the 13th Amendment. He maintained, instead, that some things must necessarily remain secret — as they would be between “husband and wife”. He said that was how problems were sorted out.
The Minister was asked by the Sunday Times if the Government had abandoned its urgent bill envisaging changes to the 13th Amendment, notably the removal of police and land powers from the provinces. He replied: “When we bring a bill like that, we don’t let go of it so easily without informing the public. There are times when we have brought that type of thing and retracted but we won’t give it up.”
Continue reading ‘India Wants TNA to Participate in the Parliamentary Select Committee Says Basil Rajapaksa’ »
(Full Text of Letter sent to Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma by United National Party Parliamentarian Mangala Samaraweera)
H.E. Kamalesh Sharma,
CHOGM – 2013
I am writing to you with reference to a news item published in the Sri Lanka Daily Mirror of 29th June 2013. The story, captioned ‘Commonwealth wants to make practical difference in Sri Lanka’ quotes a letter you have reportedly sent to an unspecified recipient . In the absence of any contradiction or clarification from your organisation, I assume that the remarks are accurate. You are quoted as saying:
“The LLRC report was a home grown roadmap for achieving peace in a multi ethnic nation.The question for the international community is whether to criticise the lack of progress from afar in implementing that report or to offer and to make a practical difference. The Commonwealth has opted for the latter and the Sri Lankan government even now is identifying the areas where we will help. We are active in Sri Lanka in advancing Commonwealth values, including human rights, the media, the judiciary and building mutual respect and understanding in communities.”
Continue reading ‘Appointment of Civilian Governor and Confinement of Army to Barracks Essential for Free and Fair Elections to North-Mangala Samaraweera’ »
Buddhists all over the world including Sri Lanka were shocked by the news of multiple explosions rocking the sacred town of Bodhgaya in the early hours of Sunday July 7th 2013.
Although precise details are scarce at this juncture preliminary reports indicate that a series of at least eight blasts occurred both within and outside the Mahabodhi temple
Continue reading ‘Multiple Bomb Blasts at Bodhgaya’s Revered Mahabodhi That was Reclaimed for Buddhists by Sri Lanka’s Anagarika Dharmapala.’ »
“The human dilemma is not whether to do right or wrong but rather to do right when it matters the most and wrong when it matters the least.” (Unknown writer)
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE) are dead. The war was won and the guns have fallen silent. But the drums keep beating and clarion calls for celebrations still continue as if the whole of Sri Lanka’s history has been reborn to an era of plenty, peace and power. This was how the ancient conquerors ruled their subjects. The vanquished are kept to lick their own wounds while the victors are salivating for more, not any more on the battlefield where military prowess was exhibited, but on the economic plains of ‘massive’ infrastructure development work so undertaken by the victors to please an unequal partner of one single nation of “Sri Lankans”.
But such a sophisticated concept seems to be totally alien to the circle of rulers who continue to ‘occupy and rule’ the land that once was almost entirely inhabited by the ones who lost the war. The majority segment of Sri Lanka’s population has chosen to march further forward, northwards, in a demented fury to show the vanquished as to who the real masters are.
Continue reading ‘Tigers Have Perished On Warfront but Sinhala Buddhists and Govt are Holding on to Those “Tigers”by their Tails’ »
N Sathiya Moorthy
Whether or not the TNA joins the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on power-devolution, there is an absolute need to keep the discourse on track. The chances are that the proceedings could become a political slanging match of every conceivable and imaginative kind. PSC Chair and Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva would require every skill and firmness in the trade if the PSC has to produce a package that aims at resolving the ethnic issue, and not encourage further dilution of the devolution package, among others.
The Opposition UNP has not announced its decision on joining the PSC. The JVP has decided to boycott it. The Government parties are a divided house, with conflicting voices emerging out of the edge of the SLFP leader of the ruling UPFA coalition. The temptation would be for every party and participant to use the PSC to address the whole nation, if not the rest of the world too. The only difference thus far between the APRC earlier and the PSC now is that the Government with cause and justification had kept the TNA out of the former. Without enough of both, the TNA has chosen to keep out of the latter.
Continue reading ‘The TNA Like The Govt Has Been Taking One Step Forward And Two Steps Backward at Every Turn’ »
“Where are the people of character, courage, conviction, competence and commonsense?”
Lee Iaccoca (Where Have All the Leaders Gone?)
‘The Conference of Birds’ is a peerless jewel in the crown of Islamic literature. Written in the 12th Century by the Persian poet Farid ud-Din Attar, this epic poem tells of an avian Odyssey in search of a king. The birds want the Simorgh to be their king; but when they reach the distant home of that legendary bird, after an epic-journey, all they find is a lake in which they see their own reflections.
The king the birds seek is a spiritual and not an earthly one; ‘The Conference of Birds’ is generally interpreted as an allegorical poem about the quest for God. But this enchanting tale can be seen from a political angle as well, as a depiction of humankind’s eternal search for utopian systems and ideal rulers. The lesson the birds learnt is a lesson not irrelevant to humans as well: leaders are often a reflection of the people who choose them and sustain them, for good or ill.
And that, in Rajapaksa Sri Lanka, is a frightening thought.
Continue reading ‘Rajapaksas Who Gave Us The Bodu Bala Sena Scourge May Give Us a Sri Lankan Taleban as well’ »
For the last two weeks I have been on a tour of four Commonwealth countries to screen the film: The first of a series on international screening tours designed to take the film to Commonwealth and other countries around the world.
This first tour included parliamentary screenings in Malaysia and Australia – although equally important have been screenings for the people who elect – and hold these governments to account. Thus we have had very successful screenings in Auckland and Wellington in New Zealand, as well as Canberra, Melbourne and Perth in Australia. At all of these meetings we had very committed and concerned Q and A’s and discussions afterwards.
Many people spoke of their horror on discovering the true scale of the crimes and massacres which marked the end of this awful war. These screenings generated a lot of publicity and press coverage – including several TV and radio features – and I am confident will lead to renewed calls for action for justice.
Continue reading ‘Malaysian Police and Censors in Kuala Lumpur Raid Screening of “No Fire Zone” Film on Alleged War Crimes in Sri Lanka’ »
KUALA LUMPUR: Three organisers of a controversial documentary film screening at the KL/Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall were detained by Home Ministry, Immigration and police officials here Wednesday.
The screening of the movie, No Fire Zone, which explores the oppression of Tamils in Sri Lanka, was organised by human rights group Pusat Komas.
Programme coordinator Lena Hendry said the officers entered the hall after the movie had finished at around 8.30pm.
Continue reading ‘Three Organisers in Malaysia Detained for Screening “No fire Zone”Documentay Film on Massacre of Sri Lankan Tamils’ »
(Text of Press Release Issued on July 3rd 2013 by the Tamil National Alliance Media Office)
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) took a decision on the 29th of June 2013, not to participate in the proposed Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC). At that time we said we would issue a full statement explaining this decision:
When the Government originally announced that it wanted to set up a PSC, it was engaged in bilateral negotiations with the TNA. It was at a time when the Government had defaulted in its commitment to respond to the comprehensive proposals put forward by the TNA. Even so the TNA fully cooperated in the process of setting up of the PSC by seeking amendments to the Terms of Reference, upon an undertaking by the Government that the PSC process will commence only after a measure of consensus was reached between the two parties at the bilateral talks.
It is the conduct of the Government that made it impossible to commence the PSC deliberations, despite the TNA making compromises at least three times, in order to break the deadlock and move forward. The following historic narrative will make this clear:
Continue reading ‘Why the Tamil National Alliance will not Participate in the Parliamentary Select Committee’ »
The final determination of the Sri Lanka Country Guidance Case is out today. This will provide a new guidance in deciding asylum cases in the UK.
It is to be noted that the UK Upper Tribunal has agreed that Tamils detained by the Sri Lankan security services remains at real risk of ill-treatment or harm requiring international protection.
The decision also introduced a categories of the persons at risk in Sri Lanka which includes, LTTE members, relatives of the LTTE members, Journalists, Tamils Activist and Human rights workers.
Continue reading ‘Ruling by UK Upper Tribunal Says Tamils Detained by Sri Lankan Security Forces Face High risk of Ill-Treatment or Harm’ »
TNA MP and lawyer M. A. Sumanthiran told The Sunday Leader that the 13th Amendment alone would not be sufficient to solve the national questions, and that the government should go above and beyond the constitution to truly address ethnic tensions in Sri Lanka.
Following are excerpts of the interview:
Q: Do you think the proposed 19th amendment will solve the national question?
A: Not at all! It will only exacerbate the problem. The 13th amendment was brought in as the solution to the national question, but everyone will agree that it did not sufficiently redress the imbalance created by the reality of a heterogeneous society in which some were the permanent majority while others were permanent minorities. All attempts to finally settle this were in the direction of enhancing devolution and making it meaningful. Greater devolution is agreed as the way forward and not the opposite, which is what is contemplated by the proposed 19th amendment.
Continue reading ‘It was the Govt which Offered to “Implement the 13th Amendment in full and Go Beyond it also”-MA Sumanthiran’ »
Leader of the Democratic Left Front, National Languages and Social Integration Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara emphasizes that the 13th Amendment to the Constitution was a step in the right direction in solving the ethnic problem. He believes that it will be fully implemented after consultation of a fairly representative parliamentary select committee (PSC)
Following are excerpts of the interview:
Q: Do the proposed changes to the 13th Amendment, in your view, solve the national question?
A: Yes, it is a step in the right direction to address the national question; it is definitely a right step. To have free and fair elections in the Northern and Eastern provinces is what these changes allow. We must give that to them, to elect their own representatives, that is the first step in winning them over; the Northern and Eastern provinces are still very much disillusioned.
Continue reading ‘There is no Alternative to the Provincial Councils System-Vasudeva Nanayakkara’ »
by Lakshmi Puri
UNITED NATIONS – Last year, as rebels captured the main towns in Northern Mali, UN Women registered a sudden and dramatic increase of rapes in the first week of the takeover of Gao and Kidal, in places where most women never report this violence to anyone, not even health practitioners.
We heard stories of girls as young as 12 being taken from their homes to military camps, gang-raped for days and subsequently abandoned; of surgery and delivery rooms invaded by armed men enforcing dress codes and occupying health facilities; of young women being punished, flogged, and tortured for bearing children outside of marriage.
Continue reading ‘Forwrd Movement in Turning Violence Against Women from Pandemic into Aberration’ »
Upul Joseph Fernando
For quite some time now India has been trying to understand with at least a modicum of certainty, where exactly Mahinda Rajapaksa stands on the issue of the 13th Amendment. India needs to gain some insight into his thinking on this, so its leaders could evaluate his genuineness and reliability in respect of his various promises and pronouncement regarding the Amendment. However, his thinking on this vital matter is as elusive as ever. Even his close associates find it near impossible to read his mind.
Wikileakes revelations in recent days have laid bare a few pointers, which could perhaps help pin down his inner convictions on this matter. It discloses details of several discussions Rajapaksa has had with US Ambassador Jeffery Lunstead just prior to 2005 Presidential Election. A careful perusal of this throws some light on how to unravel the exact stance of Mahinda in regard to 13A. In one of the leaked cables datelined 30 September 2005, Ambassador Lunstead records a discussion he had with Nirupama Rajapaksa, a niece of the President, who has bluntly remarked about Mahinda’s inscrutability, and reluctance to disclose his inner feelings.
Continue reading ‘Actual Mindset of Mahinda Rajapaksa on Thirteenth Constitutional Amendment’ »
N Sathiya Moorthy
It may remain unclear whether the Tamil National Alliance’s (TNA) decision to stay away from the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) being formed in Sri Lanka to find a political solution to the still so very vexatious ‘ethnic issue’ was influenced by the fact that Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was ‘dismayed’ by reports of the Sri Lankan Government attempting to ‘dilute certain key provisions’ of the Thirteenth Amendment ahead of the promised Northern Provincial Council poll. Singh had expressed his views when a TNA delegation led by parliamentary group leader R Sampanthan called on him in New Delhi a fortnight ago.
Continue reading ‘Why the Tamil National Alliance Should Not Boycott the Parliamentary Select Committee’ »
“Living is death; dying is life. We are not what we appear to be. On this side of the grave we are exiles, on that citizens; on this side orphans, on that children;”
~Henry Ward Beecher
From the time Sri Lanka gained Independence from the colonial powers, all Sri Lankan political leaders, barring none, have been indulging in a frenzy of electoral politics. Every national issue had been viewed through the electoral eyeglass and solutions to those national issues had been skewed and screwed to such an un-dignifying degree, in almost all instances, that the solutions that had been found and effected, had proven time and again, to be more radical and damaging than the original problem. This tragic flaw ever so manifest in our pattern of governance over the last six and half decades, had taken its toll on our national character, giving it an appearance of an incompetent and untrained technician trying to meddle with a machine about whose intricate workings, he does not comprehend at all. Not a good one.
When you pour into this pot of confusion, the sons of ministers playing havoc on the beaches, at nightclubs and on board planes in mid-air and also hammering Army personnel, the common masses must be really wondering as to what kind of government and governance we have been ‘blessed’ with. To paraphrase Churchill, never in the short history of Sri Lanka’s post-independence era have so few a number created so much chaos in so short a time as at present. The war-victory psyche is still playing up and the second generation of those who govern has taken upon themselves, the task of undoing whatever the positive this government has done, if only there is anything positive to write home about, over the last eight years.
Continue reading ‘Sons of Govt Ministers Playing Havoc on Beaches,Aboard Planes,At Nightclubs and Also Hammering Army Personnel’ »
Hafeel Farisz Interviews Defence Secretary
The country’s powerful Secretary of Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa spoke to the Daily Mirror in one of his most wide ranging interviews in recent times, on a gamut of issues. Rajapaksa explained why he believes that devolution of power is not the solution to the national question. He also expressed his candid views about his percieved relationship with hard-line Sinhala groups,the issues surrounding the arrest of a senior Police officer on charges of murder and about the controversial Matale mass grave among other topics on this exclusive interview.
Q: You come from a political family. What are your views on the presidencies of J.R. Jayewardene, R.Premadasa and Chandrika BandaranaikeYour impressions of their times in power?
Continue reading ‘“I did not create the Bodu Bala Sena, it was a creation as a reaction to what was happening”-Gotabaya Rajajapaksa’ »